Authorities are currently investigating an officer-involved shooting that led to the death of 36-year-old Rodney Hess near Alamo, Tennessee on Thursday. Hess livestreamed the encounter as it happened on his Facebook page. The very short clip shows Crockett County sheriff’s deputies approaching Hess’ vehicle as he tells them, “I would like the higher commands to come out” before moving in some fashion. A few second later, a deputy fires into the car, and Hess can be heard screaming. He died at a nearby hospital.
Although Hess also livestreamed a lengthier clip earlier that day while he sat in his vehicle, neither video shows how deputies came to surround Hess’ vehicle. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) told NBC News that Hess parked his car sideways on a freeway off-ramp and began behaving erratically while refusing to obey commands. Authorities also allege that he tried to hit law enforcement at least twice with his SUV.
TBI spokesman Josh DeVine gave a statement to CNN:
“During the escalation of events, at least one Crockett County deputy fired his service weapon through the front windshield of the vehicle driven by Hess, striking him. At this time, we do not believe Hess used a firearm in connection to this incident.”
The TBI has not confirmed the authenticity of the shooting clip, although DeVine told NBC News that investigators “will examine it to determine if it has probative benefit.” In addition, body cam and dash cam footage have been collected to piece together an accurate timeline.
NOLA.com has further reporting on the subject, including how Hess was a New Orleans native who lived in Texas and was visiting his mother in Tennessee. Hess’ fiance, Johnisha Provost, spoke with The Commercial Appeal Newspaper and revealed that he suffered from bipolar disorder: “He was not on a suicide mission. He was not trying to harm anybody. He was asking them for help and they shot him down.”
The video showing the fatal encounter can be seen on Hess’ Facebook page and on YouTube. Rodney’s father, Donald Hess Jr., and some of his other family members recorded a Facebook video statement, in which they say that Rodney’s videos were authentic. They are also calling for a full investigation. Watch below.
Sadly, this is not the only time a fatal officer-involved shooting was broadcast live on Facebook. Last July, the girlfriend of Philando Castile livestreamed the moments an officer shot and killed him in Minnesota. The officer has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.